NOAA 99-R229
Contact: Delores Clark


On June 1, 1999, the Honolulu Forecast Office begins using a new automated broadcasting system, NOAA Weather Radio 2000, for producing local NOAA Weather Radio reports aired over MHz frequencies 162.400 – 162.550. A new
personal computer-based broadcasting console will automatically translate written
National Weather Service forecasts and warnings into synthesized-voice recordings
for broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio.

A key aspect of the automated system is the reduction in the time now required by staff to record the weather information. "NOAA Weather Radio 2000 will save five to 10 minutes or more," said Jim Weyman, meteorologist-in-charge of the Honolulu Forecast Office, "and the information will always be current. We will implement it slowly, beginning with the station identification on June 1 and then adding hourly observations and other products over the next several months."

Using local NOAA Weather Radio transmitters, the Honolulu Forecast Office broadcasts emergency information for all types of hazards, natural and man-made, such as flash floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and oil spills.
Developed as part of the weather service's nationwide modernization program, NOAA Weather Radio 2000 ties directly into the nation's Emergency Alert System.

The system will allow the weather service to program specific products to air at specific times. "If you are interested in the Coastal Waters Forecast, for example, you will know exactly when to tune in," said Tom Heffner, warning coordination meteorologist for the Honolulu office. "This will eliminate the uncertainty of the old system and will allow us to publish a more precise broadcast schedule." Significant warning information, however, will always have a number one priority on NOAA Weather Radio and will override normal programming.

Another feature of NOAA Weather Radio 2000 is that it will activate the Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME). Weyman explained, "NOAA Weather Radios with the SAME capability can be programmed to turn on automatically for a specific geographic area. For instance, a radio in Hilo may sound a tone alert to warn people of a flash flood in the area but people in Kauai would not hear this warning. This feature helps us to not over-warn in counties that are not at risk."

"We strongly recommend that all homes, schools, churches, businesses, and other places where people gather have a tone-alert weather radio," Weyman continued. "Time after time, advance notice of severe weather such as flash floods, thunderstorms and tornadoes has proven to be a life saver. Earlier this year, in fact, the radio sounded an alarm during a high school basketball game in Arkansas prompting the superintendent to call off the game during half time. Thirty minutes later the gym was destroyed by a tornado."

The new system's synthesized voice may be a noticeable change from current weather radio broadcasts and, as Heffner noted, "may take some getting used to, especially for people who have grown accustomed to hearing our voices and have come to know us." With the rapid advancement in technology today, NWS already has plans for improving the voice quality on the NOAA Weather Radio 2000.

"We are asking our listeners to help support us with comments and ideas to make the new system a timely and accurate source of weather information that you can depend on," Heffner said.

Comments may be phoned to Tom Heffner at (808) 973-5275, or e-mailed to:

NOAA Weather Radio is a service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. As the "Voice of the National Weather Service," it provides continuous broadcasts (24 hours a day) of the latest weather information from local National Weather Service offices. NOAA Weather Radio currently broadcasts from over 500 transmitters in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Saipan.

Note to editors: additional information on NOAA Weather Radio may be found at